Amaranthus tricolor

Amaranthus tricolor.

From Asia Joseph’s Coat is an erect annual herb up to 2 m high.
The branching green, red, yellow, purple or maroon stems are angular.
Often hairless there may be scattered ones on the lower stems and denser ones higher up.

Alternate leaves are on a green or red petiole around 5 (8) cm long.
Ovate, elliptic, lance or diamond-shaped blades are up to 12 cm long.
The variegated leaves are a mix of green, yellow, pink, red, purple, maroon and cream.
There may be a few hairs on the veins on the lower surface.

Terminal and axillary inflorescences are dense clusters of small flowers variously arranged.
The roughly spherical axillary clusters are up to 2.5 cm across.
Terminal ones range from similar clusters to spikes or panicles (branched).
There are membranous ovate to lance-shaped bracts at each branch and bracteoles under the flowers.
Around 3 mm long they have a green or reddish-purple midrib with a long bristle-like tip.

Flowers are unisexual with male and female on each plant.
The 3 elliptic to oblong tepals (sepals) are up to 6 mm long.
The membranous tepals have a green, red or purple midrib with a long narrow tip.

Male flowers have 3 stamens.
Female flowers have a superior ovary with 2 or 3 stigmas on spreading styles.
The 2.5 mm long capsules (utricles) split around the middle with the top lifting off like a lid (circumsessile).
Each has a 1 mm black or brown seed.

There are cultivars that accentuate one or more of the leaf colours.
Leaves can be all red or deep purple, red and yellow or green with a red base.